A question about "urgent" work...
Thread poster: Rebecca Lyne

Rebecca Lyne
France
French to English
+ ...
Jul 27, 2008

Hi all,

I am sure that just about everyone here has been contacted at one time or another with an "urgent" project, especially those that seem to happen on weekends.

I would like to ask you all, what is your rule of thumb when it comes to such requests?

I will give you a scenario...You receive such a request. You respond by saying, "yes, I can take the project". However, over the course of the next hour, nothing comes in. You attempt every contact method available and can not find the person to confirm what is going on. What do you do?

Thanks,
Rebecca


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Ivana Friis Wilson  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
Member (2008)
English to Danish
+ ...
Don't do it Jul 27, 2008

I hate it when that happens!

I charge extra for weekend work - the result is I get no weekend work

If it is urgent but not weekend I just see it as primadonnaism - it is always urgent and very important, isn't it - and treat it like any other job.


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Evert DELOOF-SYS  Identity Verified
Belgium
Local time: 22:36
Member
English to Dutch
+ ...
I wouldn't accept the project (in your scenario) Jul 27, 2008

rebeccalyne wrote:

I will give you a scenario...You receive such a request. You respond by saying, "yes, I can take the project". However, over the course of the next hour, nothing comes in. You attempt every contact method available and can not find the person to confirm what is going on. What do you do?



Your scenario sounds very familiar.

Given the fact that your client didn't reply and/or can't be reached:
I would simply not accept the project and would inform the client accordingly, stating my reasons.
Or you may want to reply that you can accept, provided they send the job (and PO) within the next hour (or so). You can't waste your precious spare time simply waiting for a reply from an, obviously, not too polite client.

Happened to me before: "very urgent" job - did the urgent job and sent it - received a reply a few days later that they had placed the project elsewhere and that they can't pay as they didn't issue a PO (even though in this case and with the client I have in mind, I receive POs sometimes a week after I submitted a job...). Irritating, indeed.


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Jenny Forbes  Identity Verified
Local time: 21:36
Member (2006)
French to English
+ ...
Set a deadline time for receipt of order confirmation. Jul 27, 2008

It's infuriating, isn't it? And fairly frequent, too. In the case of an agency, it may not always be the agency's fault. The end client may be delaying sending confirmation to the agency, having promised "a big, urgent project".
My rule of thumb is to say (in an email and/or on the phone) that I'll do the job provided I receive the work and A CONFIRMED ORDER FORM by a certain time. Meanwhile, if another offer arrives that I want to accept, I accept it and inform the first agency that I'm no longer available or that the delivery date will have to be postponed (in writing - by email).
Having learned the hard way, I'd never agree to do a job without a confirmed order form anyway, except for a few trustworthy and long-time clients.
Best wishes
Jenny


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Spencer Allman
United Kingdom
Local time: 21:36
Finnish to English
Don't do it Jul 27, 2008

Don't do it unless it is confirmed. Urgent is often not urgent at all in this business. And it can't be that urgent if the client or agency has left for the weekened.

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FarkasAndras
Local time: 22:36
English to Hungarian
+ ...
charging extra? Jul 27, 2008

As to the situation, I always reply along the lines of... "if I get the original text by 4PM today, I can take the job and deliver by 8 AM monday" (Or "... reply by 5PM whether I take the job or not")
If they keep my deadlinde, I keep theirs. If they don't, I reserve the right to do the same.
I'm not too bothered by rush jobs in general so Idon't mind too much either way.


The more interesting question is, do you charge extra for urgent/weekend jobs? AFAIK agencies do, but don't necessarily pass it on to the translator. I've asked for extra fees a few times and some have accepted it.
It seems to be a good way of educating clients not to ruin your life with rush jobs when they could in fact give you a comfortable schedule if only they contacted you earlier with a text they have anyway.


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Allesklar  Identity Verified
Australia
Local time: 08:06
English to German
+ ...
Don't waste your time Jul 27, 2008

rebeccalyne wrote:

You respond by saying, "yes, I can take the project". However, over the course of the next hour, nothing comes in. You attempt every contact method available and can not find the person to confirm what is going on. What do you do?



Write them an email in which you ask them to contact you on your mobile if or when the job comes in.

You have only indicated your availability, not committed yourself to anything at this stage and nobody pays you for waiting or chasing them. It is now up to the client to get hold of you and finalise the order.


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Amy Duncan  Identity Verified
Brazil
Local time: 19:36
Portuguese to English
+ ...
Make yourself clear Jul 27, 2008

I often get this sort of thing from one particular agency I work for:

We have an urgent job that needs to be completed before the end of the day, can you do it? This job hasn't been approved yet.


Since these requests often come within three hours before the end of the business day, I always figure out how long it would take me to do it and then write back:

If the client approves by xxxx p.m. I can do it, otherwise not.


Amy


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
my "weekend assignment" Jul 27, 2008

Last week, an e-mail address that I no longer used apparently spammed my entire address book. For some odd reason, I happened to check this account on Saturday morning. What a mess! One person in a company I work for regularly forgot that I'd changed e-mails, and he'd sent me 2 messages on Thursday asking if I could translate 2 pages by Monday. When he didn't hear back, my regular contact at the company wrote me. We'd been corresponding all week using my current e-mail address--but now, confused by the spam message, she also wrote to the old address.

Of course, by the time I saw all of this, everyone had split for the weekend. Perhaps it is unwise, but I am doing the translation, and I imagine that even if someone else has been found to do it, they will still pay me for what I've done. They treat me very well, and I'd be embarrassed not to have something to send them when they need it on Monday morning. (How horrible would it be if they assumed I'd get the message and do it, and then it turned out I hadn't...)

Other people, other sorts of "requests," I might have treated differently, but not this particular case.

Patricia


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Soonthon LUPKITARO(Ph.D.)  Identity Verified
Thailand
Local time: 04:36
Member (2004)
English to Thai
+ ...
Urgent job with slow payment Jul 28, 2008

In my situation, I met with many urgent jobs.
I got payment badly slow, however.
What a sort of unfair business.

Regards,
Soonthon L.


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Henry Hinds  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
English to Spanish
+ ...
Urgent Jul 28, 2008

Urgent is in the eye of the beholder, so I just take things as they come along. That has been the best way for me.

My clients tend to be grateful for that, so they keep coming back.


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Kaiya J. Diannen  Identity Verified
Australia
Member (2008)
German to English
You are brave Jul 28, 2008

Patricia Rosas wrote:

Of course, by the time I saw all of this, everyone had split for the weekend. Perhaps it is unwise, but I am doing the translation, and I imagine that even if someone else has been found to do it, they will still pay me for what I've done.



I have been in similar situations, and found the job was indeed given to someone else or just canceled (probably because the 'end client' found another agency).

I guess you know your client, it's your call to make. But I never begin anymore without a PO or official confirmation 'in writing'. And in this day and age, everyone can be reached somewhere - as someone pointed out, by cell phone or even at home - so no point making their risk mine.

I hope this works out for you, it's a gamble I wouldn't take.

[Edited at 2008-07-28 04:41]


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John Cutler  Identity Verified
Spain
Local time: 22:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
In a nutshell Jul 28, 2008

Spencer Allman wrote:

Urgent is often not urgent at all in this business. And it can't be that urgent if the client or agency has left for the weekened.


LOL That pretty much sums it up, doesn't it?


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Patricia Rosas  Identity Verified
United States
Local time: 14:36
Spanish to English
+ ...
end client Jul 28, 2008

Janet Rubin wrote:

I hope this works out for you, it's a gamble I wouldn't take.

[Edited at 2008-07-28 04:41]


Janet,

You're undoubtedly right. At least in my case, I don't work for agencies, only the end clients, so the risk level is somewhat lower. But as of now (8:45 a.m. on Monday, their time), I still haven't heard a word, so I think the author of the piece probably translated it himself. Oh, well!

Best,
Patricia


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